GERMANTOWN — A Patriot Front sticker was found in Germantown near Palatine Park, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Local activist Michael Richardson said the sticker was reported online through the Hate Watch Report website. Stickers like the one reported are used as a recruiting tactic by people associated with the Patriot Front group.
“We don’t know when it went up, it’s one of the older stickers,” Richardson said. “It’s the square sticker that they were using back in February, and then seemingly the one that they were using in May is an oval sticker. So that tells me that it might have been there since earlier in the spring or it might have just gone up recently, we don’t know.”
The Anti-Defamation League, an anti-hate organization founded in 1913, describes Patriot Front as a white supremacist group that supports racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance under the guise of preserving the “ethnic and cultural origins” of their European ancestors.
Patriot Front is known for using stickers and leaflets as methods of recruitment, Richardson said.
The person or people putting up stickers locally is likely a local person, Richardson said. Patriot Front has a larger base in the Poughkeepsie-Peekskill area.
Another Patriot Front sticker was reported after being found in Palatine Park in May about 20 feet from where the recently reported sticker was discovered.
“The same person reported this one who had reported the one found in May,” Richardson said. “She’s not actually sure when it might have gone up. When she did the report in May she knew that it was fresh because she walked by this post and had never seen it before.”
Richardson speculated that there is a good chance the person who put up the second sticker had also put up the first one in the park.
The sticker was immediately taken down after it had been reported to town officials Monday, Germantown Supervisor Robert Beaury said. It is unclear who might have put the sticker up.
“The person who contacted me is a former student of mine,” Beaury said. “She said she and her mother were walking along Palatine Park Road and noticed the sticker and they had wanted to try and take it down but would have needed to have a ladder.”
The sticker had been placed on the back of a road sign outside one of the entrances to the summer camp, Beaury said.
“One of the first things that crossed my mind was, I don’t want any of the kids to see this kind of stuff,” Beaury said. “I mean I’ve got young counselors, and the little ones probably don’t understand what it means, but we’ve got teenage counselors and what have you, and I think they have to be in an environment where they feel safe from anything negative. I find these kinds of communications to be negative, not at all conducive to civilized society.”
A Patriot Front sticker was also found in the village of Chatham in May and stickers were found in the villages of Chatham and Philmont in February.
A year ago there were none of these being reported, said Richardson. After the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, more examples from Patriot Front and other groups like it have been found.
“I think the beginning came in November with the election.” Richardson said. “Then it reached a crescendo following the insurrection. It seems to be more prominent. We’re very concerned about the defacement of the George Floyd statue, because the Patriot Front is becoming more prominent.”
A recently unveiled statue of George Floyd in Brooklyn was vandalized June 24. The statue was covered in black paint and a Patriot Front website was written on the statue’s base. The New York Police Department reported four individuals had been involved in the incident and had stenciled the Patriot Front website on the statue.
“It’s good that people in the community are reporting these things so that people are aware,” Richardson said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Patriot Front a white nationalist hate group. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center Patriot Front was formed in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.